Individuals clad in evil clown costumes — out to wreak havoc on unsuspecting pedestrians — are behind the Creepy Clown craze now sweeping across the United States and overseas, and trending on social media for sinister reasons.

These clowns aren't your average jesters, with a hilarious trick or two to amuse onlookers.

'Killer Clowns'

The bozos in question have been nicknamed "killer clowns" because they are often seen waiting outside schools, wielding a knife, threatening children and chasing them down the street — as though the clowns' evil grimace isn't enough to terrorize their young victims.

The bizarre trend has sparked panic in communities, especially among parents, but some are fighting back.

In a community near San Francisco, for instance, Tiffany Martin, mother of a 1-year-old girl, attacked one of these creepy clowns.

"I thought he was going to kiss her hand," Martin recounted. "Instead, he pulled her arm literally, so I pulled her arm back and I kicked him."

At Penn State University late one night, students trooped to campus by the hundreds to hunt down a killer clown that was reportedly seen lurking the premises.

Security Concerns Over Creepy Clowns

While some netizens may find humor in the macabre behavior of these creepy clowns, local law enforcement units in the U.S. — and other countries where the craze is spreading — are beginning to see the prank as a security concern.

Law enforcers have arrested about a dozen individuals for disorderly conduct, and have increased police visibility in their communities.

"The perpetrators probably think it's funny but it's not," said James Berlin, police chief of Roseville, Michigan. "It's terrifying people."

Berlin's unit on Thursday arrested two 18-year-old women who donned evil clown costumes and allegedly scared young teens in the neighborhood.

Creepy Clowns Spreading In Canada, UK And Australia

Up north, in Canada, the social media fad has spread and caused worry among professional clowns.

"People have to remember these are not clowns," shared Miles Leahy, a 62-year-old professional clown and second vice president of Clowns Canada. "These are people dressed up in a clown costume who enjoy the power of being able to terrorize people."

Across the Atlantic, creepy clowns are said to be on the loose. Over the past week, at least six creepy clown sightings were documented by Northumbria police in the UK. On Friday morning, a man who was wearing a clown mask and carrying a knife also followed 11- and 12-year-old children to school, The Guardian reported.

In Australia, three separate clown incidents have also been reported in the suburbs of Melbourne.

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